The story of the workers who grew *grapes

A story that Jesus told about a garden and some bad workers

updated by Sue Hunter

This study is one of a series of Studies in Mark’s Gospel in EasyEnglish.

A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.



Mark 12:1-12 (see Mark’s Gospel in EasyEnglish)


The rich man needs the fruit of the garden so that he can live. When he leaves, he trusts workers to look after the garden. People work for the rich man when he is away. He also has a son. The son will own the garden when the father dies.

Jesus told this story to teach a lesson. The garden is picture language for the *Jewish people. The rich man is like God. He wanted to keep the garden safe. He planted strong bushes. This was so that wild animals could not get in. And he left workers to keep the garden and the fruit safe. But the workers were like the leaders of the *Jews. They did not obey the owner and they did not keep the garden safe. The servants who went to get the fruit were like the *prophets. They were like Amos, Jeremiah and Zechariah. God sent these men to give the Jewish people a message. The message told the people how they should think about God. But many people refused to obey them. In the end God sent his son, whom he loved. This is like the story that Jesus told. The owner of the garden sent his son to the bad workers.

Questions to ask

V 1    What should the workers do with the garden while the rich man is away?

V 2    Why did the rich man send a servant to his garden?

V 3    What did the workers do to the servant?

V 4-5   Why did the rich man send more servants?

V 5    What does this show us about the rich man?

V 6    How was the son different from the other servants that the rich man sent?

V 8    What is the big surprise?

V 9    What does Jesus say that the rich man will do to the workers? What will he do to the garden?

V 9    What is the message of this story? What was Jesus telling to the important Jews?

V 12  What did the Jewish leaders think, when they heard this story? What did they want to do?

Something to do

Think of a modern story that tells how people did not listen to God's messages.

Pray that people today will listen to God's message. Pray that nobody will hurt the people who bring the message.

Think about the people who bring God's message today. Talk about the best ways to tell God's message to modern people.

Words to explain

Grape ~ a small, sweet fruit that people eat; sometimes they make it into alcohol.

Jewish ~ a word that describes a Jew or anything that is for the Jews.

Jew ~ a person who is born from the families of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Prophet ~ a person who hears God's messages and tells them to other people.